Over the last few years, the risk to human health related to asbestos fiber exposure has been widely demonstrated by many studies. Serpentinites are the main rocks associated with naturally occurring asbestos (NOA). In order to investigate the presence of NOA, a mineralogical study was conducted on eleven serpentinite samples collected nearby the village of Episcopia (Lucania, Southern Italy). Various analytical techniques such as X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD), scanning electron microscopy combined with energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM-EDS) and derivative thermogravimetry (DTG) were used to determine the occurrence of asbestos minerals and to make morphological observations. Results pointed out that all of the samples contain asbestos minerals (e.g., tremolite, actinolite and chrysotile). Moreover, it was observed that both natural processes and human activity may disturb NOA-bearing outcrops and provoke the formation of potentially inhalable airborne dust causing the release of asbestos fibers into the environment, thereby increasing the risk to human health. For this reason, our study aims to highlight the requirement of a natural asbestos survey and periodic update in the area.
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